The Mascara Wars are still raging, but some marketers are taking claims a bit too far. The National Advertising Division has recommended that DermStore LLC, discontinue claims for its SmartLash Eyelash Enhancer, including claims that the product is “Dermatologist Recommended.”
NAD is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation. It is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus.
In this case, the advertising at issue appeared on the advertiser’s Facebook page. Claims at issue included:
• “Up to a 68% increase in the appearance of lash length!”
• “Dermatologist Recommended.”
The advertiser maintained that its claim “Up to a 68% increase in the appearance of lash length!” was supported by an independent, 56-day study which assessed the performance of the advertiser’s product on 30 subjects ages 18-57. In response to a self-assessment questionnaire, 67.13 percent of the subjects were satisfied with their eyelash length following treatment.
NAD determined, however, that the claim does not communicate a message of consumer satisfaction, but instead communicates the message that lash-length actually increased by as much as 68 percent. NAD recommended the advertiser discontinue the claim.
The advertiser contended that its “Dermatologist Recommended” claim was supported by the recommendation of a Board Certified dermatologist who, after utilizing the advertiser’s product, observed an increase in eyelash length.
NAD noted in its decision, however, that advertising claims concerning recommendations by medical professionals “carry a great deal of weight with consumers and, therefore, must be supported by highly reliable evidence, namely well-conducted physician surveys. Further, the doctors participating in these surveys should base their conclusions on their actual experience and what they do in their daily practice.”
Given that the “dermatologist recommended” claim in this case was premised solely on the recommendation of one dermatologist based on her own personal experience with the advertiser’s product, NAD recommended that this claim be discontinued.
The company, in its advertiser’s statement, said it was disappointed with NAD’s findings. “Nonetheless, DermStore LLC has no plans to utilize these specific claims in future advertising and, in the spirit of self-regulation and commitment to the process, will take NAD’s recommendation into consideration with respect to any future eyelash appearance and doctor-recommended claims,” the company said.